On the Agenda

Aldermen, City government, community, Elections

Did you notice the following item on  the agenda of last Tuesday's New Berlin Common Council Meeting?


  • Recommend the appointment of Laura Karvala to the Board of Public Works with term expiring 4/30/2015


So, only three weeks after the April 1 election when voters ousted Laura Karvala from aldermanic office,  her ally, Mayor Dave Ament,  recommends Karvala be appointed  to the City's Board of Public Works as a "citizen member".

Is this supposed to be a consolation prize for her?  An opportunity for Karvala to continue to vote on governmental issues despite having been voted off the Common Council?  Or was the mayor's action motivated by self-interest? Wouldn't appointing Karvala, who is so politically aligned with Ament, to  the Board of Public Works,  help him retain control of that board? 

But what about the voice of the people?  On April 1, they let their votes do the talking. They chose Chuck Garrigules instead of Karvala (for District 2 Alderman).  They no longer wanted the controversial Karvala to be their representative.  Indeed, many community residents had viewed her as unethical, divisive, hypocritical, or failing to abvide by the will of the people.

Karvala's actions in closing Wilbur Drive (where she resides) to through traffic--and  not recusing herself from voting on that issue---upset many people. Of course, closing a street diverts traffic to other streets.  It also angered folks that Karvala  was so concerned about traffic on her street,  but dismissive of others' concerns, such as increased traffic, that were expressed about the  Walmart Supercenter development on Greenfield Avenue.

In a city the size of New Berlin, surely Mayor Ament could have found someone other than Karvala to nominate for that  "citizen member" slot  on the Board of Public Works.  

Well, he recommended  Karvala  and her appointment to the Board of Public Works was approved at the April 22 Common Council Meeting.       

The New Berlin government website states:  "The  Board of Public Works superintends all public works and keeps the streets, alleys, and public works places in repair. "

Board of Public Works meetings are at 4:30 pm on the third Monday of the month.

Who serves on the Board of Public Works?

According to the website, the members are:

  1. Mayor Dave Ament
  2. Alderman John Fillar
  3. Citizen Member Laura Karvala
  4. Vacancy--alderman    (This vacancy resulted from Karvala being defeated in the April 1 election)
  5. Alderman  Ron Seidl
  6. J.P.  Walker, the City Engineer, Non-voting Secretary

In other words,  the mayor, three aldermen (when the vacancy is filled),  a former alderwoman who had been on the board, and  a city staffer.   

However,  the website also conveys that  John Fillar's and Ron Seidl's terms on the board expire in April 2014.  But hey, Thursday is May 1st.   Is Mayor Ament going to recommend those two aldermen be reappointed to the Board of Public Works or not? 

I observed  that the  April 22 Common Council Meeting agenda lists nine reappointments  recommended by the mayor:

  • reappointment  of John Meyer to the Board of Appeals
  • reappointment of John Fillar to the Community Development Authority
  • reappointment of Dennis Horbinski to the Community Development Authority
  • reappointment of John Hopkins to the Handicapped Persons Appeal Committee
  • reappointment of Dennis Horbinski to the Library Board
  • reappointment of David Oelschlaeger to the Park, Recreation & Forestry Commission
  • reappointment of Scott Biller to the Plan Commission
  • reappointment of Irene Lorbiecki to the Police and Fire Commission
  • reappointment of Jeffrey Slicker as Weed Commissioner

**** John Fillar, Dennis Horbinski, and John Hopkins are New Berlin aldermen.

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